Sunday, 28 June 2009

Serenading at Abuja parks

Children at the Abuja park


ABUJA is no longer a collectionof skyscrappers and concerete walls, the beauty of its vast landscape is springing forth; just as its economic spirit is soaring. It is fas becoming the choice destination for international conferences.
The city is green, serene and luring for leisure, especially condusive for social life, hospitality and tourism.
Perhaps, this is the reason hotels and relaxation centres are springing up all across the city.
The city’s vibrant, booming spirit has been boosted by the swarming of relaxtion facilities such asWonderland, Abuja Park and Zoo, Maitama Amusement Park, Jabi park, Tender Vine Park, City Park, River Plate Garden. The list is almost inexhaustive. The most popular among them is the Millennium park.
The Millennium Park was established during the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in 2004. Ever since, it has been a haven for leisure seekers on a daily basis, especially at the weekends.
People from all walks of life, young and old sit in the park to relieve work tension, meditate, relax and get rejuvenated.
Even families often visit the park for amusement and recreation. Husbands and wives sit to talk while children derive pleasure in playing around.
It offers them opportunities to savour the freedom and freshness that nature offers.
A visit the park at the weekend, especially on a Sunday is thrilling.

The Guardian Life spent some time with a family at the Millennium Park recently and as well, took interest in some other activities within the site.
It was a young, moderate family of five — a father, a mother, two boys and a girl.The Obeta family.
On th intrinsic benefit of such leisure activiy at the park, an excited head of the family, Austin Obeta, said sitting in the park together would help to increase the unity within the family.
“There are two reasons why we are at the park today. One is for relaxation and the second is that my son is six and we just want to take him out to feel good. Coming to the park is highly beneficial because throughout the week, one has been busy working but when you come to the park at the weekend, you relax.”
“For the children, they go to school everyday. At home, they are locked up in the house and they are engaged with homeworks. Bringing them out at the weekends relaxes them physically and mentally and they are well developed. As for me, relaxing at the park takes me away from the volume of work at the office and makes me better emotionally. I am re-energized for work,” he said.
As for his wife and mother of the family, Alexandra, “It allows me to relax and forget about everything I do at home. It also does a lot to the family because the children can play. During the week, they go to school and come back late. The only time they can enjoy staying with parents is when they are at the park like this,” she said.

AISHA Abubakar, another lady who was at the park with her children, said the reason she often go to the park was to escape the boredom at home, usually brought about by power failure.
“I delight in bringing children to the park because of power failure. The house becomes boring, so we come to relax and have some fresh air”.
“When you come to the park, you see other people. The serene environment helps you to forget your problems. You feel happy seeing children playing and other people taking a walk in the park. We visit other parks occasionally. We come to Millennium park more often,” she said.
For her, coming to the park also gives spiritual rejuvenation with the opportunity to meditate, reflect and relax. Being close to nature also helps in this way, strenghtening one’s mind. She appreciated the fact that the park management does not charge any fee unlike some other parks.
“If you had a rough week, you can relax and re-energize for the following week. Millennium Park is free unlike other parks, where you pay; and you can come at any time and any day”, she offered to say.
Speaking to Lady Hauwa was fun in itself. She exuded so much excitement that one would quickly know that relaxation was an important aspect of her life.
“Today is my son’s birthday and I felt we should come out and have fun.
“Instead of making it so big, this time we decided to come out and have fun at the park. Coming to the park builds so much impact on the family.
“The children feel free because there is more freedom here, they run around and play, make friends and have fun with their peers. Mostly we come on Saturdays, spend some hours, have launch and go home”.
“I like coming out because at times, children get tired when they are enclosed. They like to have enough space to play and this park offers space to run around, jump and play games. They feel free here. I advise families to imbibe the attitude of coming to the park. We have beautiful parks in Abuja. They should come out, relax, have fun and snap some pictures. Some of the pictures are memorable,” she said excitedly.
On the benefit of relaxing at the park, Lady Hauwa said “I wake up sound and full of life and that increases my efficiency at work. I get into the office the following week lively”.

The fun at the park is far from finish; patrons are also treated to music, both traditional and contemporary. Quite prominent here is a freelance guitarist, who moves about entertaning guests.
His name is Rest. He entertains people at the park with a guitar and songs. Asked how he gains from playing music at the park, he said, “some people appreciate me with good money while others appreciate me with kind words. I enjoy playing because music flows in me and I hope to blow the world someday with music.”
“Since I came into Abuja, this is the major place I discovered that people gather on a daily basis and I know that when I come around, I will see people to entertain. Sometimes I go to other places too like joints and amusement parks but I come more often to the Millennium Park.”
Rest, who said he was already working on his album, added that the park also serves as a rehearsal ground for him when people are not around. The park also offers opportunities for local traditional musicians to entertain leisure seekers and in turn, get some money.

Some of the children who spoke with The Guardian Life said coming to the park offers a good time to play and make new friends.
“I like to come to the park and play. It is a good time for children to play. There is a saying that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We don’t want to be dull, so we like to spend a little time to play here. The Millennium park is free, the only things you pay for are the food and drink you buy. I play kite and football with my brother. It is fun”, Ngozi Amobi said.
Her brother, Chigozie, is a lover of football and the park is just a right place to play. “I love to play ball with other children and make new friends. I come to the park on Saturdays but not very often, only when there is more time to play. I love daddy to always bring me to the park,” he said.

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